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Old January 20, 2014, 05:53 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
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P38

I am in the market (sometime soon) for a Walther P38.

I know very little about the pistols and have been doing some comparative shopping.

I see early models available in the 800.00 price range and some early 60s variants for right at 400.00.

Is the higher price of the earlier pistols because of the collectability of WWII pistols or is it because the earlier model is of twice the quality of the later versions?
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Old January 20, 2014, 06:19 PM   #2
papershotshells
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If I'm not mistaken, the 1960s guns have an aluminum frame and were made for German police use, at least the ones I've seen recently. The ww2 guns had steel frames, i believe.

Having said that, and if it is true, i would think the earlier ww2 guns are more valuable and more collectible.

Just thinking out loud off the top of my head here.

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Old January 20, 2014, 07:02 PM   #3
James K
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I am not sure what you mean by "early" guns, but pre-war P.38's, like the zero series, will cost a LOT more than $800, and even 40 and 41 date will bring higher prices. Untouched wartime models will run about $600-1000 depending on condition, with 1942-1943 generally still of good quality; by 1944, quality control, especially in fit and finish, began to slip under war time production pressure.

FWIW, after WWII, a Luger "bringback" could be bought for $10 or so, with P.38's, considered inferior, bringing $5. Of course $10 in those days was good money, equivalent to $300 today. A "Coke" was five cents, a hamburger ten.)

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Old January 20, 2014, 09:02 PM   #4
Tidewater_Kid
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I think the war time production P38s are more collectable. Post war they became the P1. as has been pointed out, those have aluminum frames and steel slides. There are post-war P1 marked P38 by Walther. I have a P1 made in 1974 at Walther and it's a good shooter, but it's picky about the ammo. If you don't reload your own 9mm, I suggest Winchester White Box 115gr. Some of the P1s that hit the market a few years ago, had been rebuilt multiple times. Some have the cross pin in the frame and some don't. Mine does not, but I doubt that I can afford enough ammo to wear it out.

You just have to decide if owning a WW2 model is worth the extra money.

TK
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Old January 21, 2014, 01:40 AM   #5
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An attendee at the most recent gun show

Offered to sell one he had brought along for 500.00.

He said it had a Mauser frame, implying that the frame was the reason for the low (?) price.

I have lost track of him and this is all academic but does anyone know what he might have meant when he said the pistol had a Mauser frame?

Is that another way of saying it was aluminum?
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Old January 21, 2014, 07:10 AM   #6
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I think the Mauser factory in 1944 had the highest production numbers. A lot of these weren't finished out the best. They don't bring as much. Maybe that's what he was talking about.
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Old January 21, 2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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By emphasizing Mauser frame that would make me think it's a mixed parts wartime P38 - which would lower the price. Or - as their P08 Luger production ended in 1942 Mauser did switch over production to the P38, so maybe he was just saying this was a Mauser, not Walther?

Most postwar P38/P1s are mixed parts, I have two and both are good shooters.

Anyway, a WWII P38 should have a steel frame and it would be difficult to force fit a postwar aluminum frame on a wartime slide. But not saying it couldn't be done!
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Old January 21, 2014, 11:50 AM   #8
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The earliest P.38s (pre WWII production) bring thousands of dollars, on the rare occasions when they come on the market. I saw one at a show some time back (actually it was the uber rare pre-Wehrmact adoption commercial "Heers pistole" with a $7000 tag on it).

WWII production guns (without import markings) bring the most, guns with import markings bring a bit less, and post war commercial P.38s and P.1s are the lowest tier, to a collector.

If you want a P.38 just because, want one to shoot to death, because they are neat, because the Man from U.N.C.L.E. used them, get a modern (post WWII) gun, and spent the savings on ammo or something else.

If you want a WWII P.38, get one, pay the going rate, and enjoy it for its history. And be aware that the P.38 does something virtually no other auto pistol does, it ejects to the left.



This one is mine, AC 42 (Walther production 1942), got it some time back, for about half what they go for today...
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Old January 21, 2014, 06:57 PM   #9
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The P.38 is the reloader's friend. It ejects to the left and usually drops all the cases in a neat pile at a right-hand shooter's left foot.

If the seller made a point about a Mauser frame, he might have meant that the slide was not Mauser and the gun was mismatched. Since all major parts of the wartime P.38 (like the Luger) are numbered, a mismatch is easily determined.

Wartime P.38's were made by Walther (code ac, the developer and original maker), Mauser (Code byf, began production in 1942 after Luger production was stopped), and Spreewerke (codes cyq). The P.38 is often called a Walther, the same as a GI .45 is often called a Colt, even though it may have been made by another company.

Edited to add: In view of some current controversies, it may be worth noting that in the 1940's and 1950's the P.38 was widely denounced by American gun writers as a cheap, stamped out piece of junk, inferior in every way to the sacred "Colt .45" carried by American GI's. Anti-gun writers, riding on the gun writer's nonsense, claimed that it was worthless, the "choice of criminals", and souvenir guns should be rounded up and destroyed. Now the P.38 is recognized as a very good gun, made by traditional methods and acceptable as a collectible.

Jim
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Old January 22, 2014, 06:40 AM   #10
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p38forum.com is a great place to learn about these interesting guns which superseded the Luger in WWII, being much easier to produce and being easier/safer/more reliable to use (first mass-produced DA/SA pistol with decocking safety as I understand it).

Here's my May '43-produced Spreewerk and its 1944 softshell holster.



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Old January 22, 2014, 06:57 AM   #11
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Spacecoast

Thanks for the rudder orders to the P38 website. I am heading over there now.
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Old January 22, 2014, 07:16 AM   #12
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That is a neat site at first blush.....

Lotta good info and I would bet some access to pistols available for purchase.

Thanks agn.
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Old January 24, 2014, 11:09 AM   #13
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I got an email from Wideners this morning (Jan 24), and they are saying they just received a good supply of P38 that are in good shape. Here is a link to their website
http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.c...=700|1012|1027
It listed a price of $559. Wish I could afford one right now.
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Old January 24, 2014, 01:18 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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Reblued and "force matched" guns in "great shape."
I guess standards are changing as the pristine originals retreat into collections that only change hands in estate sales.
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Old January 24, 2014, 02:25 PM   #15
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I'm pleased with my P1 from SOG. It cost around $325 including shipping. Prices have gone up.




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Old January 26, 2014, 09:19 AM   #16
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Walther had the most wartime production numbers in total...here is an excellent link to some production info, via the P 38 forum. Certainly collect ability is linked to lots of things with the pistol, including all numbers matching, bring back or import, correct grips, magazines, etc. I started getting into the P38s last year...you can't beat the expert info you get from the p38 forum.

http://www.p38forum.com/P38ProductionDates.pdf
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Old January 26, 2014, 10:40 AM   #17
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I've owned 2 or 3 P-1s and one P-4 (4" barrel). I believe Interarms imported them for commercial sale, including .22 chambered shooters. My failing memory recalls back in the day, that post war P-1s, P-4s, P-38s in real dollars were quite a bit more than the one I purchased from Royal Tiger a few years ago, $295 with extra mag and cleaning kit. On a good day you can get 2.5" groups or maybe better.
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Old January 26, 2014, 11:01 AM   #18
Doc Hoy
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Who is....

SOG?

Did a search with the initials and I can't find them.

I will try Royal Tiger next.
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Old January 26, 2014, 11:03 AM   #19
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Oooops

Never mind.

I found them.
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Old January 26, 2014, 11:40 AM   #20
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Doc for information only, I purchased these two shooters from Royal Tiger. Both were advertised as excellent condition. The P-1 Germam police trade in was, the Israeli surplus Hi-power was not. Had to bead blast the chipped flaking painted finish and refinish with a commercial product. The questionable safety had to be replaced,etc. Buyer beware.




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Old January 26, 2014, 03:54 PM   #21
SIGSHR
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The P1 allows you to use the Walther .22 conversion unit. My 1943 Walther has a pitted barrel, shoots fine.
In addition to our esteemed board members, I recommend good books, Gangarosa's (?) comes to mind, there are others.
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